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With light winds forecast for the final day, the fleet left the event pontoons to the two racing areas in glorious sunshine, a relief to shed the wet weather gear! IRC 1 and 2 sailed two windward/leeward races off shore from a committee boat start, where the breeze held steady from the south–east at 4–7 kts enabling some steady racing. "Fools Gold" and "Dark Angel" each won a race in IRC 1 giving the overall first for the championship to "Fools Gold" adding another title to their successful campaign this season following a win at June's Sovereign's Cup in Kinsale.

In IRC 2 "Checkmate" and "Injenious" each won a race today with the IRC 2 overall championship won by "Legless Again" who sailed consistently all weekend. "Luvly Jubbly" won all three races in IRC 3 sports boat class and the overall win, in a class which we hope to build for next year, racing around the club marks off the club line.

IRC 4 Cruiser class was won today by "Paraiba" with overall championship in this class by Roger Fitzgerald in His Delher 29 Ella Trout III.

Prize-giving followed racing, and crews enjoyed a carvery dinner after Plas Heli and Championship Chairman Stephen Tudor thanked the Royal Dee team for their race management of IRC 1 and 2 and Robin Evans for IRC 3 and 4

Full results and photographs here 

Next year's provisional dates for the IRC Welsh Championships are: 17-19th August

Published in ICRA

The final results of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 show that Kenneth Rumball with the Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 Jedi has won in IRC 3B, where third place has been taken by ISORA’s J/109 Mojito. And RORC Commodore Michael Boyd has been second in IRC 2 with the First 44.7 Lisa.

Clearly, the Irish contingent in this great classic have had a successful time of it despite some extraordinary fluctuations of fortune. But how are such twists of fate to be explained? The Rolex Fastnet Race of modern times can be analysed by the latest technology in so many different ways that, even with the best computers, it can sometimes take much longer to deduce what precisely happened than it took in real time out at sea. So perhaps if we just select a few salient facts, we might be able to get a better overall picture. W M Nixon gives it a try.

If the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 had finished at the Fastnet Rock itself, with the fleet adjourning into Baltimore and Schull to have a party or three, there would have been much for the builders of the successful JPK range to celebrate. And several crews with strong Irish connections would have been quite right in partying to beat the band as well.

nikata at fastnet2Glad morning again….the biggest boat in the race, the JV 115 Nikata (Tom Brewer) rounds the Fastnet Rock at 7 o’clock on Tuesday morning. Photo Rolex

For after an increasingly rugged windward slug the whole way from the start, the overall leader at the Rock was 2013’s winner, the French JPK 10.10 Night & Day, whose achievement was further heightened by the fact that she was being sailed two-handed by father-and-son crew Pascal and Alexis Loison.

And second overall was another seasoned French campaigner, Noel Racine with his JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew. But it’s when we get to third slot that Irish eyes light up, as it was comfortably held by our own Paul Kavanagh’s Swan 44 Pomeroy Swan. She was all of 11 minutes ahead of yet another French boat, Giles Fournier’s J/133 Pintia, which was fourth overall at the Fastnet.

But close behind in sixth overall was the classic S&S 41 Winsome (Harry Hiejst) helmed by Laura Dillon, Irish Champion Helm in 1996. Winsome had experienced her ups and downs since the start, but when it comes to grown-up windward work, there are still very few boats that can do it like the best 1972 Sparkman & Stephens design, and Winsome had been making hay since Land’s End, marching her way up through the fleet.

However, before we move on to see how these leaders-at-the-Rock finally ended in the rankings in Plymouth, casting an eye further down the Fastnet times continues to be rewarding, as we find that the hot ISORA J/109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox) was lying 9th overall as she made the turn on Wednesday morning at 7 o’clock, and Kenneth Rumball in command of the Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 Jedi was only a quarter of an hour later, correcting into 11th overall, which put him one place ahead of our RORC Commodore Michael Boyd in the First 44.7 Lisa.

jedi fastnet3Cheerful times aboard Jedi after rounding the Fastnet, where she’d been placed 11th overall of the entire 312-strong IRC fleet. Photo INSS

nikata volvo65s4Nikata at the start with three of the Volvo 65s. The new Volvo boats had a very close Fastnet Race, with Dongfeng winning by 54 seconds from Mapfre. And they’re being kept busy – on Thursday they raced away from Plymouth, bound for St Malo and Lisbon

Yet of the boats which are now figuring at the top twelve of the overall leaderboard in Plymouth, only Pintia, Lisa and the Grand Soleil 43 Codiam were in the top twelve at the rock. The JNA 39 Lann Ael 2 (Didier Gaudoux), which seemed to come out of nowhere at the finish to snatch the overall lead from Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer, was only 29th at the Fastnet Rock.

As for Privateer, she was well back, in 40th. Yet the way the winds, weather and tides developed for the final 247 miles from Fastnet to finish meant the placings continued to be shaken up until the very end, and it looked for long enough as though Privateer has the big prize until Lann Ael 2 came out of the dark in the small hours of Thursday morning, and took it.

lann ael5The JDA 39 Lann Ael making knots on the way to Plymouth

lann ael6The look of a winner. Lann Ael was not showing up on the Race Tracker for some tehnical reason, but she was very definitely right there, zooming past the Isles of Scilly on her way to the overall win

This means that for the third time in a row, the overall Rolex Fastnet Race winner is French. There’s no doubt about it, but La belle France is on a roll on the offshore scene these days, for if they aren’t themselves actually sailing the winning French-built boats, the chances are they were the designers and builders.

This is an impression which is reinforced by going into the class details, and particularly among the smaller boats. In IRC 3 it’s French-produced boats dominant, with two JPK 10.80s – Dream Pearls and Timeline - separated by just two minutes on corrected time, with Timeline having finished first, but losing through a higher rating.

It’s not until we got down to 9th place in IRC 3 that we break the French stream, and even here the 9th placed Irish J/109 Jedi – which wins IRC 3B - may have been designed in America by the Johnstone team, but I’ve a feeling she was built in France.

The placing means that Jedi got through Mojito in the sometimes wild romp back from the Rock, but all around them positions were changing, and the solid Sparkman & Stephens veterans such as Pomeroy Swan and Winsome, which had shown so well on the dead beat, were losing time all the way while the loghter boats were surfing.

However, while the two overall leaders at the Fastnet, Night & Day and Foggy Dew, slipped down the overall rankings, they maintained their class leads in IRC 4, and let it be noted that Poweroy Swan wasn’t entirely out of the hunt, as she is 4th in IRC 4. But Winsome slipped back to 12th in class.

It’s ironic that of the two former Champion Helms of Ireland whom we know to have been doing the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017, one of them – Laura Dillon – was in a boat which went superbly to windward but wasn’t so competitive downwind, while the other. Nin O’Leary, was in a boat which seemed woeful to windward, but was fastest of the lot as soon as she bore off at the rock.

hugo boss at fastnet7Hugo Boss finally reaches the Fastnet Rock at 3.0pm on Tuesday. Within minutes, she was speeding downwind, up on her foils and making 22 knots
Quite why Nin’s co-skippered IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss was just so poor to windward, even by comparison with other IMOCA 60s, is something for further study. But she’s very much a boat for the wide open spaces, and the relatively short 247 miles from the Fastnet to Plymouth wasn’t nearly long enough for her foils to pick her up properly, and let the big black boat really go like the wind.

It was clearly a race of horses for courses, and while it might be going too far to describe Hugo Boss as a one trick pony, in a complex race like this there were some superb all-round boats which gave a master-class in successfully dealing with a wide variety of conditions and finishing with a mileage which suggested that some other boats were sailing a different race entirely.

malizia racing8The Yacht Club de Monaco’s IMOCA 60 Malizia placed third in class

To re-phrase the great Damon Runyon, the race may not always be to those who sail the shortest distance, but that’s the way the smart money bets. However, the smart money isn’t always completely right. The Fastnet Race course is somewhere between 603 and 608 miles (those pesky Traffic Separation Zones must have changed the classic distance), and it’s of interest to note that the boat which was recorded as sailing the fewest miles, the Italian Mylius 15E25 Ars Una which placed 11th overall, got round in just 655 miles.

pintia start9The French J/133 Pintia (Gilles Fournier) at the start. One of the most consistent boats in the fleet, she was well placed overall at the Fastnet, and went on to win Class 2 while placing fourth overall at the finish

But Winsome, back in 75th overall after being so handsomely placed at the rock, got round in only 656 miles. She pointed higher than most other boats, and made the right tactical choices on the open water outward bound windward leg. But coming back on the fast run, her classic hull shape militated against her no matter how neat a course they sailed.

The detailed results are here

As for the winner Lann Ael 2, she sailed 662 miles, but for the Fastnet-Plymouth stages she had conditions which clearly suited her perfectly, while the Cookson 50 Privateer sailed all of 687 miles, but she sailed them so well she retained second overall. And the great pioneer, the pathfinder in the lead on the water and testing condtions for all those astern, was George David’s Rambler 88. She may have taken line honours in convincing style, but she sailed an astonishing 730 miles to do so, and slipped back to 65th overall when the basic sums were done.

These sums will be re-worked for a long time yet, for this was one very special Rolex Fastnet Race. Our own Michael Boyd captured it so perfectly in his role as Commodore RORC, shortly after he had finished to take second in class, that it’s worth re-running the vid we posted last night, for he did us proud.

Read all of Afloat.ie's 2017 Fastnet Race coverage here 

Published in W M Nixon

It’s classic Fastnet Race Day One evening conditions, with the fleet plugging to windward along the coast of Dorset, and the tide about to turn foul at Portland Bill writes W M Nixon. With the relatively rapid progress westward through the afternoon while the ebb was at its strongest, the Irish contingent in all its ramifications was having its moments of glory.

Of the boats mentioned yesterday in Sailing on Saturday as worth watching, at one stage we were in the dizzy position of having Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox’s J/109 Mojito from Pwllheli, but with half her crew from the National YC, lying second overall, while Harry Heijst’s classic 41ft S & S Winsome, with Laura Dillon of Howth the No 1 helm, was in third.

With a fleet this size, the mix is re-jigged by the minute, and for a while our hottest hope was Paul Kavanagh’s vintage Swan 44 Pomeroy Swan, which is a regular and successful contender on the RORC programme in the English Channel, but is down in the entry list as being very much Irish.

fastnet start editThe Fastnet Race Start of the IRC Z & VO65 Classes Rambler 88, Sail No: USA 25555, Class: IRC Zero, Owner: George David, Type: Canting Keel Sloop Cqs, Sail No: AUS 11111, Class: IRC Zero, Owner: Ludde Ingvall, Type: Supermaxi

The Kavanagh boat was lying third as we started to write this, but now she has slipped back to 13th, while Winsome is very much back in the frame, she lies second overall while the current leader is the extraordinary two-handed JPK 10.10 Night and Day from France, overall winner of the 2013Race, and sailed by the Loison father and son team.

As for Mojito, she’s back in 32nd, which shows you just how cruel the pace can be in a fleet of 312 in the IRC Division, and with every possible permutation of boat size, type, and location being put to the racing test. Thus the currently best-placed J/109 is the Irish National Sailing School’s Jedi, showing at 29th but she’d been up a 20th for a respectable period.

Race tracker here

Up at the front of the fleet, Paul Meilhat’s IMOCA 60 SMA is setting a cracking pace. The word on the waterfront is that his co-skipper is our own Marcus Hutchinson, so that can be offset against the fact that Alex Thomson and Nin O’Leary took an inshore tack a while back with Hugo Boss, and didn’t do well out of it at all. They now lie ninth and are down to 9.1 knots while SMA is pacing away from the entire class at 10.4 knots.

George David’s Rambler 88 is starting to get into the hunt as the fleet sorts itself out from the different start times. It has been notable just how high she is able to point relative to some of the more specialist craft while still sailing at 12.4 knots, so after the up-coming six hours of foul tide with the smaller boats in the strongest area of it, we should see Rambler move up from her current 63rd overall in IRC./

Published in Fastnet

#Rambler88 - George David’s Rambler 88 has won the King Edward VII Cup in this year’s Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race.

The American Maxi took line honours in the 151-nautical-mile offshore race and was also declared overall winner IRC time correction of the 176-boat fleet, which sailed from for Brittany from Cowes on the Isle of Wight last Friday (7 July).

The Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race is the ninth stage of the 14-race RORC Season’s Points Championship, currently led by defending champion Lisa, the Beneteau First 44.7 owned by Nick and Suzi Jones and sailed by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd.

Earlier this year, Rambler 88 — which had a record-breaking debut in last year’s Round Ireland, years after a memorable capsize in the 2011 Fastnet Race — took line honours in a cliffhanger finish at the RORC Caribbean 600, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Offshore

The second ever IRC European Championship took place in the south of France over four days last week for an international fleet of 53 boats.

While last year the inaugural event was incorporated into Cork Week, this year's IRC European Championship was a stand-alone affair, held off Marseille, the 2017 European Capital of Sport and the potential 2024 Olympic sailing venue, should Paris win its bid. It was run by the Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL), in conjunction with the three Marseille clubs, Centre Nautique et Touristique du Lacydon (CNTL), Societe Nautique de Marseille (SNM) and Union Nautique Marseillaise (UNM) - the first time they had organised a major international regatta together.

Somewhat disappointingly, given Ireland's strong IRC involvement through ICRA, there were no Irish entries and a single British entry in the RORC event.

At one point. it was hoped that inaugural champion Paul Gibbons Anchor Challenge from Cork Harbour might be in a position to defend her title but with three major IRC regattas within just a few weeks in Ireland this year it would only have been a full pro crew that could have contemplated the Marseille trip.

It would, of course, be in Royal Cork's interest to see Irish participation given the club has bid for the IRC Euros again in 2020, its tricentenary year.

The Marseille 2017 IRC European Championship title was open to boats with an IRC TCC of 0.900 -1.400. In practice entries ranged from 31 footers to TP52s, with IRC, the rating rule of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and UNCL, creating a level playing field for all. Racing was held on windward-leewards and longer courses around Marseille's off-lying Frioul islands in conditions ranging from light on the first two days, building over the weekend into the high teens.

IRC Zero for the fastest boats, featured four TP52s and the Italian Cookson 50, Endless Game, helmed by Spanish double Olympic medallist Luis Doreste Blanco. The longest boats were the Swan 601, Lorina 1895 and the Wally 60, Wallyño, which, despite the grand prix competition, led IRC Zero after day two.

However ultimately crowned 2017 IRC European Champion was one of the smallest boats: the JPK 10.10, Expresso 2 in IRC Four. Owner Guy Claeys regularly races shorthanded, but on this occasion Expresso 2 was sailed with a full crew including Olympic Soling sailor turned sailmaker, Sylvian Chtounder.

The 1994 vintage Alice, originally owned by Vendee Globe skipper Mike Golding, was the sole British entry in this year's IRC Europeans and impressively counted no points worse than a second.

Surprisingly in IRC Three, the top three boats were all Farr 36s, Alice and Frantz Philippe's second-placed Farr 36 Absolutely, recent winner of the inshore racing at Rolex Giraglia Cup, both IRC-optimised by Wicklow designer Mark Mills. They and Week End Millionaire all overcame race favourite, Gilles Pages' Sun Fast 3600 Tip, present leader of the UNCL's 2017 Mediterranean IRC Championship. 

Overall results by class (including discard)
IRC Zero
1. Team Vision Future - Jean-Jacques Chaubard (FRA) - 18
2. Phoenix - Hasso Plattner (USA) - 19
3. Arobas2 - Gerard Logel (FRA) - 22

IRC One
1. Tonnerre de Glen - Dominique Tian (FRA) - 7
2. Imagine - Jean-Claude Andre (FRA) - 16
3. Cippalippa Rossa - Paolo Guido Gamucci (ITA) - 17

IRC Two
1. Geranium Killer - Pascal Fravalo (FRA) - 8
2. Jivaro - Yves Grosjean (FRA) - 15
3. Adrenaline - Michel Gendron (FRA) - 15

IRC Three
1. Alice - Simon Henning (GB) - 8
2.Absolutely - Philippe Frantz (FRA) - 20
2.Week-end Millionnaire - Yves Ginoux (FRA) - 23

IRC Four
1. Expresso 2 - Guy Claeys (FRA) - 7
2. Fioupelan - Frederic Forestier (FRA) - 28
3. Old Fox - Paolo Colangelo (ITA) - 28

Published in RORC

With a near perfect scoreline, Giovanni Belgrano's 1939 classic yacht Whooper was crowned 2017 champion at the Royal Ocean Racing Club's IRC Nationals. Today, two windward-leeward races were held on the Solent in similar brisk southwesterlies to the first two days. This year's event may not have been an 'all-round test' weather-wise, but has been extremely challenging in terms of preparation and boat handling.

During the event Whooper, a classic Laurent Giles sloop that was previously IRC National Champion in 2004, scored six bullets, a fourth and a discardable DNF in the final race.

Whooper is no rating demon. She is optimised with modern sails and Belgrano has an experienced crew who do 60-70 races/year.

Elsewhere, the racing was extremely close. In the FAST 40+, Johnny Vincent's Pace fended off charges from Peter Morton's brand new Carkeek 40 Mk3, Girls on Film to win by a slender two points. Today Pace scored a 1-3 to Girls on Film's 2-1.

IRC One concluded with a dog fight for the lead between the Ker 46 Lady Mariposa and Ker 40 Keronimo. The larger boat held a two point lead going into the final race in which they suffered a major blow, being over the start line early.

Finally they managed to shake Keronimo off and were able to get up to speed until they had to make a last minute change to their lighter spinnaker, despite the wind building to above 20 knots. "We were praying that it would hold to the finish," recalled Hardy. Ultimately finishing fourth to Keronimo's second left them tied on points, claiming IRC One on countback.

In IRC Two there was a leader change with Ed Fishwick's Sun Fast 3600 Redshift Reloaded, leader all weekend, finally trounced by Adam Gosling's JPK 1080+ Yes! who came very close to successfully defending their IRC Nationals title.

As to relinquishing the IRC National title to Whooper, Gosling said: "Giovanni sails really well. He's campaigned Whooper for a long time. It is nice to see an old boat win."

Results are here

Published in RORC

With the southwesterly piping up to 30 knots in the final race, the RORC IRC Nationals got off to a brisk start on the Solent today with two windward-leewards followed by a round the cans race.

Appropriately, given this is an annual championship for Royal Ocean Racing Club's rating rule, it is a mix of both the newest boats and the very oldest, that lead at the conclusion of day one.

Star performer was Ed Fishwick's Redshift Reloaded which scored straight bullets in IRC Two and now lead reigning IRC National Champion, Adam Gosling on the JPK 1080+ Yes! by five points.

Fishwick typically races his new Sun Fast 3600 doublehanded offshore, but has a full crew for this event. "Today it was mainly about getting good starts and staying upright," he explained. "We are one of the lower rated boats in IRC Two, so it was critical to get good starts and we got them, which meant we were in touch all the way up the first beat. It was very shifty and we had to do an unusual amount of tacking on shifts, but we got it right."

While their competitors were broaching around them, Redshift Reloaded's broad beam and twin rudders helped the crew keep her on her feet as the wind reached 28 knots, although even they suffered one wipe out.

The attrition rate was highest in the FAST40+ class where only four of the nine entries completed the third race. At the end of the race two, Johnny Vincent's Ker 40+ Pace was tied on points with Girls on Film, the brand new Carkeek 40 Mk3 of 2016 FAST 40+ champion, Peter Morton. However, this was not to continue for Morton, who recounted: "The problem was that our bilge pumps weren't working and we were slowly filling up with water which we couldn't get rid of. In the third race we were going down. We had about 2.5 tonnes of water on board and couldn't finish the race."

Nonetheless Morton was pleased with their performance up until then on his brand new boat. "The first time we pulled a spinnaker up was at the weather mark, but the boat feels really good. We are fast upwind and downwind. It's just not designed to carry two tonnes of water..."

The previous Girls on Film, now Bastiaan Voogd's Hitchhiker holds second, tied on points with Mark Rijkse's 42°South, with Pace leading by six points.

In IRC One, Andy Williams's Keronimo is also leading on six points after scoring a consistent 2-2-1 today - a fine performance, this being the Plymouth-based Ker 40's first major outing of the year.

"We had an up and down day - it was quite busy and bumpy and windy, but we really enjoyed it," recounted Williams. However it nearly all unravelled in the breezy final race. "We managed to drop the A4 in the water on the hoist and shredded it with the whole race ahead. But we worked very hard and what got us the race was the last leg - it was a tight reach and we flew an A0 fractional. We were underwater doing 17-18 knots all the way down and we literally made all our time with everyone hanging out the side, properly submerged."

In the first two races Keronimo was playing second fiddle to her bigger, newer brother, the Ker 46 Lady Mariposa. She is fastest boat in IRC One, but had to retire from race three with broken battens.

Swuzzlebubble Half TonnerRacing in IRC Three, Philip Plumtree's Halftonner, Swuzzlebubble Photo: Paul Wyeth

In IRC Three, Mike Bridges' Elan 37 Elaine won race one, but in the second and third it was the turn of renowned structural engineer Giovanni Belgrano and his Laurent Giles classic shoal-draught centreboard sloop, Whooper, winning both races to take the lead overall. A 1939 vintage, Whooper is the oldest boat competing and won the IRC Nationals back in 2004 when Belgrano says conditions were similar to today.

"It was a battle for everyone," said Belgrano of racing today. "But we do well against the modern boats in these conditions." Whooper was progressively reefed during the day, having started off on too generous a jib.

"She has a good hull shape, she was ahead of her time," added Belgrano of his steed. With a displacement of 7.2 tonnes, Whooper has great stability, but even she came a cropper in the lumpy wind-against-tide seas. "We were doing 11-12 knots. We did what may have been our first nosedive and we had green water on the foredeck. We came out of a gybe and we were probably 70° on our side," concluded Belgrano.

Tonight many teams are licking their wounds with much boat work to complete before another full day of racing tomorrow.

Published in RORC

Racing gets under way this Friday on the Solent for the cream of the British keelboat fleet at the Royal Ocean Racing Club's IRC Nationals writes James Boyd.

The rating rule will create a level playing field between the 53 boats entered ranging from the fastest, the Ker 46 Lady Mariposa, to the slowest, the two Quarter Tonners. In between it must cope with planing machines such as the eight FAST40s or Jamie Rankin's Farr 280, Pandemonium, to the Quarter and Half Tonners originally designed to the IOR rule to Giovanni Belgrano's 1939 Laurent Giles classic, Whooper.

Three 46 footers are competing. In addition to Lady Mariposa is Colin Campbell's Azuree 46 Eclectic, theoretically slowest of the trio. In between is the Marc Lombard-designed Pata Negra, chartered for the summer by the Dutch de Graaf family, who previously campaigned the Ker 40, Baraka GP.

In IRC One they will also face their old foe, Andy Williams' Ker 40 Keronimo, and Tor McLaren's MAT 1180, Gallivanter. There will also be a trio of J/111s, Simon Bamford's Kestrel, Paul Griffiths' Jagerbomb and Cornel Riklin's Jitterbug.

Adam gosling Yes Adam Gosling's JPK 1080 Yes! is back to defend their title as joint winners last year with Irish crew James Hynes (third from left) and Nicholas O'Leary (right) Photo: Rick Tomlinson

A favourite for this year's title is former RORC Commodore Mike Greville and his trusty Ker 39, Erivale, having come so close to winning last year.

Among the eight FAST 40+s all eyes will be on the latest generation Carkeek design, Girls on Film of 2016 class winner Peter Morton. With a modified cockpit layout compared to her predecessor (now Bastiaan Voogd's Hitchhiker), the IRC Nationals will be her first competitive outing having freshly arrived from her builder in Dubai.

IRC Two will see a dust up between five First 40s, including La Reponse of RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine, who memorably scored three straight bullets on the final day of the IRC Nationals. On that occasion he was beaten to the class win by Adam Gosling's JPK 1080+ Yes!, ultimately crowned joint IRC National Champion. Yes! will return to defend her title.

IRC Three includes regular campaigners such as Harry Heijst's S&S 41 classic, Winsome, Mike Moxley's HOD35 Malice and Mike Bridges' Elan 37 Elaine.

Alongside Quarter Tonners, Berry Aarts' Wings and Tom Hill's Belinda, Phil Plumtree's Half Tonner, Swuzzlebubble, and Whooper, one of the lowest rated is the Poole-based MG 346, MS Amlin Enigma of Ian Braham.

Racing at the RORC IRC Nationals takes place over 23-25th June with a first warning signal each day at 1050

Published in RORC

British First 44.7, Lisa, is the overall winner of the 2017 Morgan Cup Race. Owned by Nick & Suzy Jones and skippered by RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd of the Royal Irish Yacht Club on Dublin Bay. The Corinthian team scored a memorable victory after IRC time correction. 94 yachts completing the 125 mile course across the English Channel in blustery conditions. The crucial part of Lisa's victory came right at the end of the race.

“You need a good slice of luck to win a RORC offshore overall, as the conditions really need to suite your particular class” smiled RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd. “For Lisa, the tide changed near the end, which slowed the boats down behind us. We stayed inshore for a bit of rock hopping in the final few miles and it paid off. I would like to praise all the team racing Lisa, especially Suzi and Nick (Jones). We would like to dedicate the win to our absent navigator, who has a knee injury. Neil Morton, this win was for you.”

Five time Figaro competitor, Jacques Pelletier, racing Milon 41, L'Ange De Milon, finished the Morgan Cup just over a minute behind Lisa, to claim second overall. About 15 minutes later, Gilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine, J/133 Pintia, crossed the line. After IRC time correction Pintia was third by just two seconds.

Windward Sailing's CM60, Venomous skippered by Derek Saunders, took Line Honours and victory in IRC Zero, in an elapsed time of just over 17 hours. L'Ange De Milon was the winner of IRC 1, ahead of Maxime de Mareuil's French xp-44 Orange Mecanix2. Mike Greville's British Ker 39, Erivale III was third in class. In IRC Two Lisa was the winner with Pintia second. Stephen Hopson's JPK 10.80 Blue Note was third in IRC 2, racing Two Handed.

A tremendous battle in IRC 3 was played out by two French JPK 1080s. Marc Alperovitch's Timeline took Line Honours for the class and after IRC time correction, won by just 26 seconds, ahead of Delamare & Mordret's Dream Pearls. Rob Craigie's Sunfast 3600 Bellino was third in class racing Two Handed. In IRC 4, Marc Noel racing French Norlin 37 China Girl, corrected out to win the class, ahead of two British teams; David Cooper racing Dehler 38 Longue Pierre and David Gough's Elan 333 Aventurera.

In the Class40 Division, Halvard Mabire's Campagne de France continued their fine for this season, winning their class by over one hour.

In IRC Two Handed, the top seven places all went to British boats, the top three separated by just 2 minutes 17 seconds after IRC time correction. It was Rob Craigie and Deb Fish sailing Rob’s Sunfast 3600, Bellino that was the winner, just under ten minutes ahead of Ed Fishwick's Sunfast 3600 Redshift Reloaded. Charles Emmett's superbly sailed Sigma 36, British Beagle was third. Charles was leading the Two Handed Class, IRC 4 and the race overall for long periods of the race, however the tide and a softening breeze robbed them of victory on the South Coast of Guernsey. Fair respect should to the smaller yachts in the race completing Two Handed. Blackburn & Dipple's Sunfast 3200, All or Nothing, along with Jonty Layfield's J/11s, Sleeper and Alan Thornewill's JOD 35, Ginger.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season's Points Championship consists of a testing series of races which attracts an international and varied fleet. For the serious offshore sailor, trying to win the Season's Points Championship is a real challenge. The Season's Points Championship this year includes the tactically and physically challenging Rolex Fastnet Race, one of the oldest and most prestigious offshore yacht races in the world.

Published in RORC

In a weekend that saw the only Irish JPK10.80, Rockabill VI, win the biggest ISORA race for many years, Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret's sister ship Dream Pearls has won the Royal Ocean Racing Club's De Guingand Bowl Race. In second place was Noel Racine's JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew and third overall was the British Two Handed team of Ian Hoddle and Ollie Wyatt, racing Sunfast 3600 Game On.

Line Honours for the De Guingand Bowl Race went to Piet Vroon's Dutch Ker 51 Tonnerre de Breskens, 36 minutes ahead of their nearest rival, Daniel Hardy's Ker 46 Lady Mariposa. After IRC time correction Lady Mariposa was the winner the big boat class, IRC Zero.

“A very competitive race for us and we are delighted to win the first race of our campaign for the Rolex Fastnet Race” commented Dream Pearls' Christian Maby. “We were happy with our speed and we made some very good decisions with sail selection, especially using our Code Zero on the leg back to St. Catherine's Point. If there was one part of the race that we made significant gains it was there. When we finished, we could see boats around us in IRC Two, so we knew we had done well, but to win is fantastic for the team, and this will give us good hope for the season.”

IRC Three was the biggest class with 27 yachts competing; Dream Pearls took the class win, as well as the overall with Game On second and Thomas Kneen's JPK 10.80 Sunrise in third.

Ian Hoddle's Game On had a terrific race, winning the 20-strong IRC Two Handed Class and placing third overall. However Game On was pushed all the way. In IRC Two Handed Nigel De Quervain Colley's Fastrak XI was only two minutes behind and Ed Fishwick's Redshift Reloaded less than three minutes, after IRC time correction.

“Having been beaten by Bellino and Redshift in the Cervantes Trophy, we were keen to strike back immediately” commented Ian Hoddle. “We nailed a more aggressive start, which paid off as we were in the leading pack on the kite-leg down to the forts. The intensity of competition in the Two Handed fleet is such that a good start can make all the difference. North Head was the low point of our race; a broken jib shackle delayed our kite hoist and the time to fix it and a foul tide punished us. At this point the competition had all positioned themselves for the maximum tide running out of Portland. We continued across to Swanage to see if the anticipated lift provided gains; and it worked to a tee. We made the East Shingles Buoy without a tack and even got the Code Zero aloft! Both Ollie and I had certainly left nothing on the table and by 2am we were exhausted!! Ollie and I last raced together back in 2011. I have never seen someone with so much energy - he literally never stops working around the boat - like a machine :)”

Congratulations to Angus Bates' J/133 Assarain IV, winner of IRC One, Nick & Suzi Jones' First 44.7 Lisa, winner of IRC Two, and Antoine Magre's Palanad II, winner of the Class40 Division. The next race in the 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship will be the Myth of Malham. Mirroring the start of the Rolex Fastnet course, the 256 nautical mile race around the Eddytstone Lighthouse, will be the first weighted race of the championship, with a points factor of 1.2.

Published in RORC
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